Vaginismus: Advice needed!

This is my first post here, and let me start by thanking you all for the encouraging stories of hot monogamy! Unfortunately for my wife and me, we haven’t had the best of starts to our marriage because of my wife having vaginismus.

Let me tell you a bit about my wife and me. We’ve been married five years, we have one child and another on the way (Praise God!). The fact that we have become pregnant twice is a testimony to God’s faithfulness in our marriage.

Along the bumpy road, we’ve had surgeries, counseling, tears, frustration, and some minor victories. We’re at the point that penetration had become possible, but is uncomfortable most of the time for her. Recently she started pelvic floor physical therapy and is progressing slowly but steadily. However, as a part of that, intercourse is off the table. As such, we haven’t had sex since our unborn child was conceived (12 weeks ago now, at the time of writing this).

I’m the higher drive spouse, and she comes from a very reserved and conservative Christian upbringing where sex was never talked about, which inhibits her desire for sex, combined with the fact that it’s painful to her.

Now for the advice: My wife is uncomfortable meeting my sexual needs besides through intercourse. Oral sex, handjobs, and other “inventive” forms of sex are no-gos in her book. So, how do I continue to support her as her husband and cope with next to no intimacy from her until she completes her PT?

Anyone who has advice, I would much appreciate it!

God bless!

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13 replies
  1. AmBlessed says:

    Thanks so much for sharing; I feel your pain and frustration as intercourse has been off the table for over a year for us due to medical issues. As you noted there are two interrelated questions here

    1. How do I continue to support her? – What does intimacy and sexual satisfaction mean to her at this time? What makes her feel like she is loved and valued by you? What kind of touch does she enjoy? If you are like me, sexual frustration will almost always reveal itself in not very reassuring ways to her. If/when that happens, she may very well feel that she is valued only as an object for sexual satisfaction. I have had to ask, observe, confirm, and pray for the joy to give her what speaks love to her.

    2. How do I cope with next to no intimacy from her? – In my case, both the inability to have intercourse and the fact that our desired frequency is very different, I simply shared with my wife that I did not want to be frustrated due to a lack of physical intimacy and asked if she minded if I took care of myself when needed, that I would like her blessing, which she gave. I wish that she would offer to be a willing participant or even an encouraging observer, but that has not been the case thus far. But knowing that I have her blessing makes self-care much more enjoyable.

    Praying for you now…

    • DyingToSelf says:

      I do have her blessing to take care of things myself when I need to. However, she doesn't like to be around or supporting during that because she feels guilty that she can't do that for me. I try to reassure her that it's just for now and that she should concentrate on her therapy, but she can often be her own worst enemy.
      As far as her idea of intimacy and satisfaction, she doesn't call for much, partially out of the aforementioned guilt, and partially because her drive only causes her to desire intimacy around 1-2x a month. When she does want it, I'm very glad to serve her with manual stimulation and/or oral sex, which she is very satisfied with. Thanks for the response and the prayers!

  2. ILoveMarriage says:

    Hi. Sorry to hear about the problems.

    There is obviously a lot more going on than vaginismus. I had a friend who had pelvic floor PT. That is the right thing to do. Has she also been to a vulvar specialist? I presume so since she has had surgery.

    Is there any sexual activity that she enjoys, such as manual clitoral stimulation or oral sex? Like AmBlessed says, make sure she is taken care of!

    "My wife is uncomfortable meeting my sexual needs besides through intercourse. Oral sex, handjobs, and other “inventive” forms of sex are no-gos in her book." What type of counseling has she had? She needs Biblical counseling about sex in the Christian marriage. Has she read Kevin Leman's book Sheet Music? Besides whatever practical information she picks up, it will help her see that sex along with supporting activities such as manual stimulation, oral sex, and masturbation is part and parcel of a normal married couple's sex life.

    When you need to take care of yourself, I would just go for it. Do it in front of her. Don't ask her permission or blessing. This is something I started doing years ago. I rarely masturbate alone now. My wife is usually willing to make herself available for my needs, especially later in our marriage. But letting her see my need firsthand reminds her that "didn't we just do it? — three days ago" is not sufficient for my needs.

    This is not to punish her. No judgement. You just need relief. Look at her and praise the heck out of her beauty as you do it. Ask her to show you her tits or do it when she gets out of the shower.

    • LovingMan says:

      I agree with everything said by ILoveMarriage. I really would suggest you two go to a sex positive marriage counselor or sex therapist. Our conservative Christian culture has many wonderful benefits but the aversion to various forms of sexual expression within marriage is not healthy. You have to get a therapist that shares or at least respects your values and they must be sex positive. I had a therapist once who told me sex just wasn’t that important so I found a new therapist. There are also certified sex educators… but again, they need to respect your commitment to monogamy.

    • DyingToSelf says:

      Her current counselor is a Christian counselor, and they're working through some of her aversion issues, such as to kissing, or that her genitals are "dirty." We both read Sheet Music when we got married, it was a gift to us from some close Christian friends of ours. She still seems to have an opinion that sex revolves mainly around penetration…
      As far as meeting her needs, she enjoys manual and oral simulation from me and regularly orgasms from that. In regards to masturbating in front of her, the few times I do, I am sure to make remarks about how beautiful she is and how I know things will be so much better once this problem is solved. However, as I said before to AmBlessed, whenever she sees me masturbate, she feels guilty because she can't give me what I need from her. There's a thought in her head that she can't do anything for me unless she is turned on, which is pretty rare. Thanks for the response and suggestions!

  3. firefly says:

    Ask her about anal sex. – kindly and gently explain your frustration and physical needs. Share with her that she is the only avenue for you to have release and you would be glad to return the favor at any time.
    My 27 year old daughter got what your wife has and therapy helped her and her husband. I explained to her about his needs and that she is the only one to fill those sexual needs.

    • DyingToSelf says:

      Her doctor says that's a no go, last pregnancy she had hemorrhoids. When I remind her that she's the only avenue I have, it heaps pressure on her and she feels defeated. Thanks for the advice!

  4. MarriedtoaHotBabe says:

    Can she receive oral sex without pain and enjoy it? If so, mutual oral sex for a while may work well. I showed your post to my wife and she also agrees. As my wife herself just said, with men, there is almost a physical need to ejaculate on a regular basis.

    • DyingToSelf says:

      I give her oral sex when she wants it, which she enjoys, but she doesn't like giving me oral, especially when she's pregnant (strong gag reflex). I really wish she'd be willing though, the few times she has tried oral on me, it's felt amazing! Thanks for the idea!

    • MarriedtoaHotBabe says:

      I think it’s unfair your wife won’t give you oral under the circumstances you have described.

  5. ILoveMarriage says:


    Thanks for the additional info. You would be surprised how many people post here and never return.

    I regret that I am going to be critical of your wife. I know she is a wonderful person — you obviously love her very much. But she is sinning against you, and I want to make sure you see that.

    All of her excuses are just that. Excuses to justify her selfishness and avoid her duty as a wife. She is fine with "alternatives" when she has sexual needs. But when she is satisfied and you have needs, no can do. She says she feels bad that she can't provide her vagina to you, so she does NOTHING. Not buying it.

    What your wife needs to understand is that sex is "sacrificial." Even in the best marriage where there are no health issues and no hangups or bad attitudes, and both partners are loving and not demanding, sex will still be sacrificial. Even if your drives are mattched, which is rare, you will not always want it at the same time.

    I put sacrificial in quotes because being a sacrificial lover is something most people enjoy. I asked my wife for sex one morning, and she said "Sex is all you ever think about. All you ever want is sex." (Thinking to self, "Yeah. So?" This was so unlike her. Throughout our marriage she has almost always been available to me and seemed to enjoy it even though she didn't want an orgasm. We were having other issues at the time.)

    I pointed out that when she wants sex, it is a major production. An hour or more of rubbing her clit for example. When I want it, it is five minutes out of her day. So our investiments of time balance out. But, I said, I LIKE serving you sexually. I will joyously spend as much time as you want. I get to play with sexy girl parts. Why wouldn't I want to? I told her I thought she enjoyed making love to me even when she didn't need it. She said she did. (OK, so what's the problem?)

    That's great that she is getting counseling for her aversion issues. But it sounds like the counselor isn't holding her feet to the fire. It seems that she would assign her some things to do to help her overcome her aversions, such as giving you a hand job. From what I have heard, counselors generally do not do anything to push people outside their comfort zone. If they lose a client, that affects their income, plus they cannot help someone who stops coming to counseling. And your wife doesn't sound too motivated to progress either. If she actually reached the goals set by the counselor, then she would have no excuse not to put out.

    Do you attend the counseling sessions with her? If not, could you? Talking about your concerns in front of the counselor may help her be more able to help to your wife. It would give you a safe environment to tell your wife about your needs. Perhaps you could get your wife to agree to some specific bedroom activities for you, whether she is totally comfortable with them or not. Start small, and work up.

    Failing that, I would definately stop masturbating alone. It's your bed and your bedroom, and she is your wife. Your sexuality is meant to be shared. If it makes her uncomfortable, too bad. Perhaps you could involve her passively in some way. Hug her while you jack off. Rub her breasts while you do it.

    Finally, I want to address her lack of libido. You probably know about responsive desire and how women's desire tends to be responsive in nature. (She might not want to do it until she starts doing it. When she starts doing it, her desire will kick in and she will enjoy it.) Maybe, after you get all of her issues fixed and the pregnancy is over and she starts having sex (or handjobs or whatever) more often, her libido might increase.

    However, if she only wants it every two weeks or a month, something is wrong. After two weeks, my wife and I think most women would be climbing the wall. Has her drive always been this low, or did it become an issue after pregnancy or other issues started?

    I am not speaking ill of your wife by asking this—you just need to cover all of your bases. Is there any possibility she is having an affair?

    Could she be masturbating without your knowledge?

    But, she is probably not having an affair or masturbating. More likely, her hormones are off. My wife and I have both had hormone issues (in our 60's.) We got our hormones fixed, and are having the best and most sex of her life. Your family doctor or her gyn isn't likely to be able to help with this. Go to the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (a4m) and click on Directory. Or better, ask a local compounding pharmacy for referrals. You can wait until after pregnancy for this, but do get her to get checked out.

    Praying for you, Bro. Let us know of any questions.

  6. CrazyHappyLoved says:

    You obviously love your wife very much. You care that she feels bad that it hurts to have sex, and in truth, guilt could lead to a vicious cycle that feeds her aversions. You are blessed that she doesn't feel you should avoid masturbation, but you clearly need her emotional involvement in your sex life. Could you tell her that you know she is hurting right now, but you'd feel so loved if she took an interest in bringing you physical pleasure? Just seeing her smile and enjoy your self-pleasure would be nice. Maybe she could let you settle back against her naked body behind you and touch your chest and shoulders while you masturbate. She needs to know that, like you love her and take pleasure in pleasing her, you need her to prioritize your needs too. What would help her feel good about going outside her comfort zone to care for your needs during this trying time? I'm not sure anyone knows but her. Maybe just your gratitude if she does?

    As a young mother with one young child and another on the way, time will have to be set aside even when her body heals and her therapy leads to change. Why not start now by setting aside one evening a week after your child's bedtime for sexy time together. It doesn't even have to be sex, just a relaxed, playful time of touches and kisses and cuddling for now that will set the tone for later. She doesn't have to be "in the mood" to set aside that time; you are important to her and worth it. And later, when her pain has lessened, regular sex will be important to keep her body from atrophying again (or so I've read.) So setting the expectation that sex is a regular part of your life can help make sure it happens. That might help you maintain hope while treatment progresses.

    I wish she were not averse to giving physical pleasure in the same ways that she is happy to receive it. I hope that her love for you and her counselling will help her overcome those reactions and reciprocate your attentions.

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